Guest blog – Russ Ferguson, Senior Vice President (Americas)
It’s been over four months since international air travel was largely grounded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. July was seen as a pivotal month by many in the travel industry, with airlines targeting next month to restart some operations and resume international flights. However with spikes in the virus continuing in some regions, a volatile economy, borders still restricted, and travelers nervous about returning to the skies; what does this mean for the global non-profit community?
While traveling internationally remains challenging and technology has helped, some NGO’s need to visit country programs and field offices in order to complete their projects. Many of these projects have deadlines and although donors are sensitive to the current situation, NGO’s are keen to close out budgets and avoid further backlogs.
If you read my article in early June you will have seen my interview with Joe Gleason from AHT Insurance, who talked about the needs for organizations to start preparing for a return to travel now; and review policies, processes and providers, especially in light of increased focus on traveler well-being.
In my article this week I share insights from a survey Diversity Travel recently commissioned with its non-profit partners, to better understand how COVID-19 is shaping their attitudes to travel.
In our survey, which was completed by 155 non-profit partners, we asked when they expected travel to return to travel. The results show that while some expect travel to resume in the next few months many don’t expect to be traveling again until 2021.
When polled about the perceived risk from COVID-19, the majority understandably felt this was a significant obstacle to travel. However almost a quarter of respondents thought the risk was manageable if airlines and lodging providers take the right precautions. And 8% went as far as to say they felt the risk presented by COVID-19 was low in relation to the work they do – which is a reminder that many NGO employees work in some of the most demanding and fragile environments in the world.
We also asked whether people expected to receive further training and support on COVID-19 prior to travel. While over 60% said yes it was surprising to see almost 40% said no.
We are here to help
The Diversity Travel team is supporting partners throughout the pandemic, helping to implement dynamic travel policies, change processes, repatriate travelers from challenging areas, and efficiently work through thousands of refunds. We remain strong and ready to support the global non-profit community return to travel.